FOOTBALL: Postseason positioning on the line Bemidji High regular season finale
BEMIDJI – The second seed in Section 7-5A and its reward, a first-round playoff bye, is still a possibility for the Bemidji High School football team, but in order to keep that hope alive the Lumberjacks need to defeat Sartell today.
The Jacks and the Sabres will close their regular seasons at 7 p.m. at Chet Anderson Stadium, and each team will bring a 5-2 record to the kickoff.
If BHS loses it will finish third in the Section 7-5A seedings, but if the Lumberjacks win and Chisago Lakes loses tonight at home against Irondale, Bemidji could overtake the Wildcats.
Chisago Lakes and Irondale both own 5-2 records.
The section seedings are determined by the QRF numbers. Cambridge appears to be a lock for the No. 1 seed as it is 6-1 and has a QRF of 87.8
Chisago Lakes’ QRF is 75.9 while Bemidji has a 65.0 mark. Trailing the back are Duluth East (33.3), St. Francis (23.5) and Duluth Denfeld (23.3).
If the current QRF rankings hold up, Bemidji would open its postseason Oct. 23 at home against Denfeld. That winner would travel to Chisago Lakes on Oct. 27 in the semifinals.
A second seed for the Lumberjacks, however, would give them a quarterfinal bye and a home game, most likely against Chisago Lakes, on Oct. 27.
BHS would love nothing better than to end the regular season on a four-game winning streak. After splitting the first four outings the Lumberjacks have bounced back with wins over Grand Rapids (37-0), Alexandria (38-23) and Sauk Rapids (41-20).
Sartell claimed its first four games but has gone 1-2 in the past three, falling 35-28 to Fergus Falls, edging St. Cloud Tech 21-20 and losing last week 28-21 to Willmar.
The Sabres boast a two-pronged attack, averaging 150 yards through the air and 155 on the ground. Quarterback Parker Hagen has connected on 68 of his 146 passes with nine touchdowns and six interceptions.
The running game is paced by Erik McAfee, who has 738 yards and 11 touchdowns on 115 carries and averages 123 yards per game.
BHS averages 92 yards through the air and 240 on the ground. James Hendricks has passed only 79 times and has 39 completions, eight touchdowns and a pair of picks.
Tanner Boes is the leading ground gainer with 639 yards and seven touchdowns on 100 rushes. Hendricks has 358 yards and three scores on 54 carries.
Brady Schmidt also has seven TDs and 341 yards on 49 runs.
Jaylen Ingalls leads the receivers with 14 catches, 237 yards and one touchdown. Connor McNallan has five TDs among his eight grabs. Alex Fenson and Ryan Hirt also have caught TD passes.